>Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name. Esther 2:12-14

Twelve months is a long time to prepare for a blind date. In a time before microderm abrasion and photoshop, a full year was apparently necessary to be received by the king. This seems like a lot to put up with.

For most of us, waiting is far worse than the diagnosis. Worrying about a situation takes a greater toll sometimes than the actual rejection. Esther had a full year to wait. She had no idea what the result would be. The difficulty was in the in-between time. Much like Joseph who sat forgotten in prison for two years (Genesis 41:1), when we are in an open loop and closure seems beyond the horizon, it’s easy to fall into despair and doubt. It’s easy to question everything and everyone. It’s easy to give up.

In these valleys, every one of us has a decision to make: do we fight against what we fear or do we cooperate even when we don’t understand the outcome? Now, if you’re in captivity or prison, you don’t have much choice physically but to wait. But, while our bodies can be incarcerated, no one can put chains on our souls.

Whether you face a dead end job, a lifeless marriage, or actual prison, your attitude is up to you. (Those of you who know me well at this point are probably saying: “Hello, kettle, you’re black.”) And, you’re right. I have thrown some pity parties like it was 1999 — Y2K, you know).

But, as I’ve grown older, wiser and tired of living in the pit of despair, I’ve decided to change some things. I count my blessings more often. I’ve become more accepting of the fact that God has me where I am for a reason. I’ve learned that cooperation achieves far more than competition. Do I still freak out over things? Yes, I do once in a while.

What circumstance are you fighting against these days? How can you become more cooperative in the situation? I’m not saying that you’re wrong and the situation is right. But, how can you allow God to develop His character in you using your situation as a catalyst for growth?

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